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Alibaba plans logistics network

(China Daily)

08:31, January 25, 2013

Workers sort through packages at a logistics distribution center in Nantong, Jiangsu province, during an online shopping holiday in November. (China Daily Photo)

E-commerce giant aims to fill demand for deliveries as online shopping grows in popularity

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China's largest e-commerce company, plans to join hands with partners to build a logistics network across China that can support 10 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) worth of transactions a year within the next decade.

It will take the lead in a 100 billion yuan investment in the network by teaming up with industry players, banks and the biggest express delivery companies, including Chinese retailer Yintai Group and private conglomerate Fosun Group, Alibaba said in an e-mail sent to the media.

China's logistics industry has grown as online shopping has become increasingly popular. However, it has also been criticized for its inability to satisfy the great demand of e-commerce delivery.

Alibaba aims to make deliveries between any two places in China within 24 hours once the network - China Smart Logistic Network - is finished.

"It's like building a road so that cars can run on it," said Yang Lei, public relations director of Alibaba.

He added that Alibaba will not do the deliveries itself, just like it doesn't sell things itself but instead builds the infrastructure for others to sell.

Alibaba and its partners will set up warehouses across China and build a data system that tracks trade and delivery information of suppliers, sellers and buyers to improve the efficiency and quality of deliveries, Yang said.

A new company will be set up, and Jack Ma, Alibaba's chairman, will act as the chairman, while Shen Guojun, chairman of Yintai Group, will be the chief executive officer, he added.

The e-mail didn't elaborate on how Alibaba and partners would make money from it, but said that participants in the project will "invest in the coming five to eights years without thinking of returns".

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